Cyclone gymnastics falls to Denver on senior night


Tyler Coe

Kelsey Boychuk celebrates on senior night against Denver on Feb. 24.

Logan Shanks, Sports Reporter

The Iowa State gymnastics team lost their final home meet of the season against Denver, with a final score of 197.275-196.300. 

Eight Cyclones potentially just experienced their last night in Hilton as performers and were welcomed with cheers and applause from the crowd prior to the start of the meet. While some have the option to come back for another year, the emotions on their faces throughout the night showed what this environment has meant to them. 

“This senior group has been the soul of our team the past four or five years they’ve been here. Although this is the last time in Hilton that they will be with us, but we have a lot more great gymnastics ahead of us because of them,” head coach Jay Ronayne said. 

The Cyclones started off the night on vault, an event they have found success with frequently throughout the season. The first senior performer of the night, Kelsey Boychuk, had a near-perfect landing and scored a 9.875. Josie Bergstrom would tie that score as the next performer up, followed by Kaia Parker, whose performance scored a 9.850.

“It was a great way to begin the meet. I was really happy with the way we started the meet and how they responded today,” Ronayne said.

The Cyclones would finish the first rotation with a narrow lead over the Pioneers, 49.225-49.125. The Cyclones have been their best when they are able to take an early lead and not have to worry about battling back for the rest of the meet. While it may not have been a big lead, they went into bars with a much-needed lead over a proven Denver squad.

Kaia Parker is pumped about her routine on the floor in a meet with Denver on Feb. 24, 2023. (Tyler Coe)

Iowa State started the bar rotation with a trio of low scores, Madelyn Langkamp with a 9.725, Loganne Basuel with a 9.750 and Lauren Thomas with a 9.650. Natalie Horowitz and Laura Cooke both scored a 9.800, but the Cyclones would still end up trailing the Pioneers by .725 heading into the third rotation. 

Things started off well for the Cyclones on beam, as Thomas would improve her night with a 9.800, followed by Bergstrom, who would tie that score. Horowitz capped off her night with a 9.800 as well, which would be her last performance as a Cyclone in front of the home crowd. 

“The whole time I was thinking about how I wanted to go out on something I’m proud of, and I’m really happy that we were able to break a season-high in a 196 today,” Horowitz said following her final two performances at home.

Hannah Loyim would round off the beam performances for the Cyclones, earning the best score with a 9.850, which would erase Basuels’ 9.100. Even with a few solid performances from the Cyclones, they would now trail Denver by 1.025 and would have to hope for mistakes on their end as well as some great performances from themselves in the final rotation. 

Iowa State has found a lot of success on the floor recently, specifically out of Alondra Maldonado, Cooke and Maddie Diabb. It was only fitting that a senior would start things off on floor for the Cyclones, and Boychuk delivered earning a 9.800. Cooke would follow that up with an uncharacteristic slip-up out of bounds, which earned her a 9.650 in her last performance as a Cyclone at home. 

Ana Irene Palacios got things back on the right track for the Cyclones with a 9.850, followed by Loyim with a 9.900. Maldonado performed for the third time since coming back from an illness that kept her out for a few weeks and earned a 9.850. What stole the show was Diabb’s closing performance, which was electric to the very end, and earned a 9.925 which would tie for the best score on floor for the night.

After the awards ceremony, the seniors were welcomed to the stage with their families along with their individual highlights playing as well as their career-high scores and other accomplishments being announced to the crowd.

The Cyclones’ next meet will be at 5 p.m. Friday in Iowa City, Iowa, against the Iowa Hawkeyes in this year’s Cy-Hawk matchup.